home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


March 18, 2017

Dana Altman

Casey Benson

Payton Pritchard

Sacramento, California

Q. Good afternoon, everybody. I would like to introduce Payton Pritchard and Casey Benson from the University of Oregon. Fellas, what have you seen and heard about Rhode Island and what kind of situation do they present for you that you might not have seen in the Pac-12 conference?
PAYTON PRITCHARD: Rhode Island is a very talented team. The starting five can all score, so that's a hard task for us to handle. We just really gotta come ready to play, defense has to be our priority that game.

CASEY BENSON: We know Rhode Island is a hot team. I think they've won 8 or 9 winning their conference tournament. Team coming in with a lot of confidence, so we got to match the intensity. It's win or go home, obviously. We will be ready to go, focused and looking forward to it.

Q. Can you contrast how different of a match-up this will be compared to yesterday?
CASEY BENSON: Sure. We know that they're athletic, kind of a different team, Iona shot a ton of threes, while Rhode Island goes to the basket, so in that sense it's contrasting. Got to be ready to fight the dribble on defense and contain them.

Q. You guys shot ball really well the other day, yesterday. I know defense is your concern, but you guys made 35 field goals. What is it like shooting down there on that court and blowing it up like that? Plus I know you want to be more consistent tomorrow with it as well.
PAYTON PRITCHARD: Obviously, we would like to shoot like that every game. I think it starts with ball movement, not taking tough shots early.

In the Pac-12 Tournament we started the game taking tough ones, and it took us out of the rhythm and didn't get us in the flow of the game. But when we take good shots everybody is capable of hitting those and it just gets us in the flow.

Q. Is there one player in particular that you guys have maybe seen a lot of video on or has caught your eyes from the URI Rams?
CASEY BENSON: Not necessarily. I think they're balanced from what we've seen, different guys that can make different plays. So it's a matter of everybody guarding their guy individually and also collectively making it tough on them, and they get out in transition. That's a big focus for us defensively. I think it's a team that anybody can get-goin'. So you gotta be ready for everybody.

Q. What's it been like -- what was it like yesterday adjusting without Chris Boucher and what do you have to think about tomorrow?
PAYTON PRITCHARD: Obviously, it's a big loss. Chris Boucher in my opinion is an All-American-type player. But as far as our team goes everybody has to step up now. We can't dwell on his injury. We've gotta move on and try to make a run at this so everybody has to fill his role in some way. Kavell stepping up, Keith, Roman, you know, guys that had lower minutes during the year now are playing a lot more. They're going to step up huge for us. Me and Casey need to step up defensively more for him and everybody needs to.

Q. It's a rare team that blocks shots almost as well as you guys do. How much do you go against Jordan, Chris when he was healthy, to go against a team that is so active to try to block shots as you guys are?
CASEY BENSON: Obviously, in practice every day playing with or against Jordan and Chris you see that. It's obviously when you see Jordan and Chris two of the best shot-blockers in the country that helps. They're going to be flying around and we've got to get the best shots possible knowing that they're coming and making plays for each other to get open looks and get drives to the basket.

Q. What is it like playing under Coach Dana Altman's leadership? He's won everywhere he's been.
CASEY BENSON: Absolutely. Coach has done a great job at every single place he's been at. He's done a great job with us. My three years here it's been a blast playing for him, being in our third NCAA Tournament is just a testament to the type of coach he is. Putting us in positions to be successful every night out, and, you know, getting the best out of each of us is something he does great. I think you've seen his job of coaching every year, whether it was two years ago when we were picked, I don't know, ninth or tenth in the conference, whatever it was and ended up getting second. Last year we were picked fourth and we won it, and this year obviously in a good position, but every year he's done a great job. So it's been a blast playing for him.

PAYTON PRITCHARD: Coach, like Casey said, he's a great coach. A lot of us came here because of his winning history. For me, personally, throughout this year I've learned so much more from Coach growing off and on the court. It is just a testament of who he truly is as a coach.

THE MODERATOR: Gentlemen, thank you.

We are now joined by Coach Dana Altman, head coach of the Oregon Ducks. First question, obviously you and your staff have spent time looking at tapes of Rhode Island. Do they show you anything that you don't see in Pac-12 competition?

DANA ALTMAN: Their athleticism is very good. They get out and pressure and are very physical, similar to Arizona in our league. I like their group. I like their depth. They're making with tremendous confidence. Nine-game winning streak will do that for a team. Very impressed with what I've seen, especially here of late. Early on, you know, they were trying to find their way. But if you watch the last four or five games, they've put together something special and they're shooting the ball with tremendous confidence, playing with tremendous confidence, and they beat a very good Creighton team yesterday. So we know we've got our work cut out for us.

Q. Big difference from preparing from Iona?
DANA ALTMAN: Yes, big contrast in styles. Iona always up and down, wanting to run with us. I think Rhode Island will be more of a grind, push it when they have the opportunities. They are a very opportunistic team when they have an opportunity off turnovers, long rebounds. They have a very good transition game then.

However, if they don't have those opportunities, they're going to make you guard a lot longer in the half court. A different style. Yesterday we saw a lot of zone from Iona, and tomorrow I don't think we'll see any. We'll see a lot of man-to-man.

Q. Did your dad ever coach?

Q. So you're the only coach left of the four here who is not a coach's son?
DANA ALTMAN: Well, my dad yelled at me a lot. Does that count? (Laughter.) Every time I didn't play well he sure let me know.

Q. Where did you get your coaching chops, then?
DANA ALTMAN: Well, I owe a lot to everybody I played for. Dave Olman was my high school coach. Gary Bargen in junior college. Larry Riley, Mike Riley. I played for Larry at Eastern Mexico. I did my graduate work at Western Colorado for Mike. Two twin brothers who meant a lot to me. Lon Kruger, I worked for Coach for three years. Then someone who was a mentor because we coached at the same junior college, Charlie Spoonhour was someone I could always lean on. I have been fortunate. I've had a number of coaches who have really cared about me and taken good care of me, so really fortunate.

Q. What's been the message to the team since you lost Chris? Has it impacted the chemistry at all or do you feel like you've been able to overcome it?
DANA ALTMAN: It was a blow. Chris, his personality, the uniqueness of his game. It was a blow. Credit to Chris, man. He has handled it. He is the first guy trying to fire everybody up and I know it's killing him that he can't play. But just shows how unselfish he is. Man, he put the team first and it's all about the team moving forward. Couldn't be any prouder of him, and just again showing how unselfish he is.

Q. Anybody when you watched the game yesterday that caught your eye from the URI Rams that you're going to have to keep an eye on tomorrow?
DANA ALTMAN: All five starters and those guys he brought off the bench were all pretty good. They're a balanced attack. I tried to emphasize to the team that they have a couple of go-to guys that they may need to run a special four, but other than that their balance makes them dangerous, a little bit like us.

We do lean on Dillon offensively; but Tyler, Jordan Bell, Payton and Casey both play well, Dylan Ennis is a double-figure scorer. We had five guys, six guys in double figures. Our balance is, I think, what makes our offense strong; and I think their balance is what makes them offensively very good.

Defensively they're well-schooled. Danny does a great job defensively. Like I said, when I say they're similar to Arizona that's a big compliment because Sean Miller and Arizona, defensively, year-in, year-out, they're really good. I'm really impressed with Rhode Island. I think they're really good, and as I mentioned, the last four or five games because of their confidence they become much more dangerous than they were earlier in the year.

Q. What's gotten into Tyler Dorsey? He's having a spectacular March?
DANA ALTMAN: Tyler is focused on other parts of the game. He is rebounding better, his defensive effort is better which has got him going and got him into the game. Offensively he's been very productive. I think what got him going in the conference tournament, the first game, he had nine rebounds against Arizona State and defensively we were struggling there a little bit. He really picked it up.

I thought down the stretch against Cal his defense really picked us up. I think he's focused on other parts of the game and because of that his offense has picked up. There were times during the season I didn't do a good job of getting him involved enough. I didn't run enough things for him to get him going, but he's taken care of that getting the ball off the board, taking it himself and become more involved by focusing on the other parts of the game.

Q. Coach, you've faced one Hurley brother in your conference at Arizona State in Bobby. Are there similarities you see with Danny's team and how the coaching style is with a Hurley brother?
DANA ALTMAN: They both with complain a lot! (Laughter.) Golly, Bobby is always after the officials. I saw that out of Danny a little bit yesterday. So they must get that from their dad. But, no, they're competitors! That's something that runs in their family. Great competitors and their teams show that. We had a real tough ball game with Arizona State at our place, a 1-pointer and then we had 'em again in the conference tournament and were fortunate enough to pull away in the second half.

Their styles are both really competitive, and their teams play a little differently; but, you know, watching their dad's teams and now watching their teams, great competitors and I know we're going to have to have our work cut out for us. We're going to have to play really well.

Q. Coach, yesterday Coach Hurley was up there and he joked about adding Bobby to the staff to get some intel on you. How much can you actually learn about an opponent in 24 hours to get ready for a game like this?
DANA ALTMAN: I think it goes more back to principles of what you want to do defensively and hopefully you've for the some habits. It's very hard, you know, they run a lot of high-post action and bring their posts way from the basket. It's hard to go through all their sets in one day, and try to get those set.

We do a lot of sets. It's pretty hard to get it all in one day. You've got to rely on your principles when you haven't seen guys before. We focus in on tendencies and trying to get our guys ready for, you know, what they like to do from an offensive standpoint. I'm sure there's guys that do it better than us, but we try to focus in on, you know, what we've done day-in, day-out, our habits defensively and hope they're good enough to get ready in a day.

Q. Coach, you had one opponent in common this year, Valparaiso. Was that game irrelevant because it's been so long ago or can you take anything from that?
DANA ALTMAN: It's too long ago. We are a much different team from when we played Valpo, and I know Rhode Island is. I don't think that game means too much to either one of us. I hate to say it again, but the last four or five games I see a big difference in Rhode Island. We watched some of their early games and you watch their games they played in the conference tournament and getting ready for the conference tournament and they're a team that plays with much more confidence.

You're talking about a team that shot 65% from the year in free throws and 63% in conference and yesterday before they is missed those last two they went 28 of 29. Teams don't do that unless they're expecting to make it. You had a 43% free throw shooter making 10 for 10. So that's a lot of confidence.

Q. Coach, you've been here many times before. What is the build-up for the second-round games. Rhode Island it's about surviving and advance, 11 seed, moving on. Does the intensity get closer as you get into the second round?
DANA ALTMAN: Usually with the second round your guys relax a little bit and your guys get a closer look at who they really are. The first game I think all he coaches are apprehensive, you know. Payton as a freshman comes out and he has a heck of a game offensively, but you're not sure how your guys will respond in that first one.

It's like the conference tournament. I'm always worried about that first game just trying to get comfortable. Hopefully the second game you relax and play closer to who you really are. All the games are intense because guys know if you don't play your best you may be done, and I don't think anybody in our locker room is ready to put away the uniforms. I know I'm not. I think that pressure is always there, but hopefully our guys will be relaxed and confident and ready to play at 4:00.

THE MODERATOR: Thanks, Coach.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297